Freddie Freeman’s day was already made before he even stepped on the field tonight, after finding out he had been voted into his first All-Star game. Freeman rewarded the confidence of the fans who voted him in by getting hits in his first three at bats and driving in four runs. Freeman’s hits were key in sparking the Atlanta Braves to a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the first game of their four game series.
Things started off very poorly for Braves starter Tim Hudson, who threw 30 pitches in the top of the first and allowed two runs. The early Reds offense was sparked by Shin-Soo Choo who singled, stole second, and reached third on a Brian McCann throwing error. Joey Votto walked, and singles by Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce out the Reds up 2-0 early. The Braves offense was up to the challenge though as a Freddie Freeman’s double drove in Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton to tie the game at two in the bottom of the first.
The Braves took their first lead in the second inning when a Freddie Freeman single scored Reed Johnson who was in the game after replacing an injured Jason Heyward. Heyward hurt himself in the bottom of the second after an awkward slide into third base, following a Justin Upton infield hit. Heyward left the game with what the Braves termed a “strained hamstring” and the Braves intend to further assess the injury in the morning.
The Braves lead did not last long as the Reds tied the game in the top of the third with a Votto sac fly bringing home Choo. Reed Johnson did his part in emergency action when his triple in the bottom of the fourth scored Simmons to put the Braves back in front. Justin Upton followed Reed’s triple with a double and then a Freddie Freeman single saw the Braves take a 6-3 lead that would prove to be enough for the victory.
Matt Latos only managed to pitch four innings for the Reds as every inning was high stress and the Braves managed to run his pitch count up quickly. The Reds bullpen held the Braves at six runs as it pitched five shutout innings, but the Reds offense wasn’t able to complete the comeback. A Chris Johnson throwing error in the fifth allowed the Reds to climb within two and a Phillips double off Jordan Walden in the eighth made it a one run game. Craig Kimbrel was able to shut the door for the Braves in the ninth getting Zach Cozart for the final out with the tying run on base and Joey Votto on deck. The Braves victory coupled with a Washington Nationals loss allowed the Braves to stretch their NL East lead to 6 games. The Braves send Kris Medlen to the hill on Friday night to face Bronson Arroyo.